Experiment of the Week – Air is Strong Enough to Crush a Can

How do you crush cans? On your forehead? Maybe with your bare hands? You do it on your four head Conner? NO! My science helper, Conner and I are going to crush this can by using the air around us. What I’ve done is I’ve brought some water to a boil and suddenly I submerged it into an ice bath and then you’ll notice that something neat is happening. My can is crushing, look at that, pretty amazing. What’s happening? When the can is turned upside down and submerged into the cold water, the water vapor inside the can is cooled and condenses, this decreases the air pressure on the inside of the can causing the stronger air pressure on the outside to do what Conner? Crush it! Yes and it crushes it, look at that, pretty amazing! It’s a whole lot smaller, air is stronger than you may think.

NEWSPAPER/MAGAZINE/WEBSITE

Can Crusher

INGREDIENTS

  • Empty Soda Can
  • Hot Plate
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Tongs

INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1:  Fill the bowl with ice and water.

STEP 2:  Place one tablespoon of water into the empty soda can. Turn on the hot plate, to high, and place the soda can on the hot plate.

STEP 3:  Wait a few minutes for water vapor to appear above the can.
STEP 4:  Using the tongs, grasp the sides of the soda can, quickly flip the soda can, and dip it immediately into the cold water. Make observations and explain on this process is similar to how the sunlight on Earth’s surface creates weather.

 

EXPLANATION
When the soda can is turned upside down and submerged into the cold water, the water vapor inside the soda can is cooled and condenses. This decreases the air pressure on the inside of the soda can, causing the higher pressure on the outside of the soda can to crush the soda can.

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